George Clooney’s bedraggled basset-hound features have never been better exploited than in Alexander Payne’s perceptive and moving dramedy about a Hawaiian household in mourning. The Hollywood super-celeb effortlessly dials down the star-power wattage as Matt King, the apprehensive scion of an Aloha State brood that goes back generations. Matt’s now facing twin challenges: the potentially lucrative sale of a prime parcel of land and the impending death of his wife, Elizabeth (Hastie), who lies in a coma after a boating accident.

Elizabeth haunts every frame of The Descendants. In short, she’s no saint: Matt is quick to acknowledge their marriage had problems, but even he is shocked when his eldest daughter (Woodley) reveals that mum was having an affair. So begins a leisurely, island-hopping road trip as Matt and his children spread the word about Elizabeth’s terminal condition and seek out the illicit lover. As ever, Payne – adapting a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings – walks a fine line between caricature and compassion. This is an exquisite portrait of a family navigating the wreckage imparted to them by one of their own.

The Descendants

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Duration: 115 mintues
Released: Dec 10th
Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Patricia Hastie, Grace A. Cruz, Kim Gennaula, Karen Kuioka Hironaga
Language: English
Classification: 15+
The Descendants
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